Eurasia Center Brief Analysis EC/2022/22. – Defense cooperation in the Middle East


There are increasing reports about the formation of a new military alliance in the Middle East. This would be a significant development, if only because Israel would then also be represented in the group already referred to by the international press as “Arab NATO” (which does not yet exist). This initiative is a real indication of improving relations between certain Arab countries (e.g., the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, etc.) and Israel, with an anti-Iran alliance clearly taking shape. According to critics, however, the chances for the formation of such a military alliance are slim, as there have been similar failed attempts in the past, and the fragmentation of the Arab world and the various interest groups are not conducive to such initiatives. In this analysis, we examine past military cooperation among Arab countries, and outline the effect that a possible “Arab NATO” would have on the region in the future, and how it would impact the balance of power in the Middle East.

Keywords: Arab world, Iran, Israel, military alliances, NATO

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